Gun control measures debated in wake of Roanoke journalist killings

29 Aug 2015 | Author: | No comments yet »

Addressing gun violence.

The husband of the sole survivor of the Virginia shooting which killed WDBJ7 reporter Alison Parker and cameraman Adam Ward during a live television report has come forward to tell her story. Roanoke police had direct contact with on-air shooting gunman Vester Flanagan at least twice after escorting him from the WDBJ-TV station following his firing in February 2013.The father of a young Virginia television journalist fatally shot by a former co-worker Wednesday visited colleagues at her television station Friday and again called for “reasonable” gun control. “Each time you think there’s a tipping point, with Sandy Hook or Aurora, nothing gets done,” Andy Parker said, referring to mass shootings at a Connecticut school and a Colorado movie theater.

Local commerce representative Vicki Gardner was giving an interview to Parker and Ward at the Bridgewater Plaza in Moneta, Virigina at about 6.45am Wednesday when Vester Lee Flanagan approached the trio and opened fire. “We would say still like, ‘The reporter is out in the field,’ and he would look at us and say, ‘What are you saying, cotton fields? — The woman who survived the on-air shooting that killed two TV journalists says she never saw the gunman walk up to the group because the camera’s bright light blinded her. Department spokesman Scott Leamon said Friday officers went to Flanagan’s apartment about a year later at the request of a friend in Atlanta who feared for his well-being. His hair-trigger temper directed at a random collection of people he encountered never seemed to stray into the type of violent behavior that would have put him on the radar of police or mental health professionals. Terry McAuliffe (D), who used the opportunity of yet another high-profile shooting to point out that the nation’s gun laws, and those in his state, are deeply irrational.” Mr.

McAuliffe’s statement was exactly the Gun Control Anthem, sung by many after every high-profile shooting, and perhaps the statement qualifies as productive because the editorial board agrees with it. Last December, police questioned Flanagan after he asked his bank to refund money he said had been withdrawn from his account through unauthorized ATM transactions. In his statement, the governor mentions ”common sense” as if what is dictated by it is the best solution to some problem and the best explanation.

He said meeting the people that loved and worked with his daughter was “profoundly difficult.” Flanagan legally bout the Glock handgun that he used to kill the two journalists. The first four shots were aimed at Parker, and two more were aimed at Ward, Gardner’s husband Tim said in a telephone interview from the hospital where she is recovering. Leamon says the police department will conduct a review of its dealings with Flanagan in response to his fatal shooting Wednesday of two WDBJ journalists. WDBJ-TV anchor Chris Hurst says he gave Parker a black onyx ring with some diamonds for her birthday and told her they would save up for an engagement ring and be together forever. “‘You need to go to bed,'” she texted. “And she sent me some kisses, and emoji, and said, ‘Good night, sweet boy’ at 3:26 a.m. Parker said there were signs Flanagan was “disturbed.” He had a reputation as an unstable co-worker and had to be physically lifted from his chair when he was fired by the station.

The writings and evidence seized from Flanagan’s apartment showed the man “closely identified” with people who have committed mass murders, including the Sept. 11 terrorist attacks. The common-sense mentality when applied to addressing violence could be working to prevent finding solutions because that mentality crowds out, if you will, thinking outside the box. The standard under federal law relating to mental health and guns is high, and requires a person being “adjudicated as a mental defective” or “committed to a mental institution.” “There are warning signs out there that reasonable people can take a look at and say, ‘Wait a minute, there’s a problem here,'” Parker said. “When there are warning signs … there’s got to be a reasonable way to do this,” he said. The affidavit also says Dave Seidel, who is the assignment editor at WDBJ, told Virginia State Police that the gunman was Flanagan after reviewing video of the shooting, which occurred live on television. Flanagan, a former reporter at WDBJ, was fired from the station in 2013 for poor performance and conflicts with co-workers, who said he was always claiming to be the victim.

After Flanagan wrecked his vehicle on Interstate 66 and shot himself, a Franklin County Sheriff’s Office investigator ran a Virginia Division of Motor Vehicles record on Flanagan to identify his address. Throughout our history, we have come together to tackle unsanitary living conditions and unsafe water, eliminated diseases that killed or crippled and reduced deaths from smoking and drunken driving. In his last hours before shooting himself to death, Flanagan — using his on-air name, Bryce Williams — posted a grisly video of himself killing Parker and Wade and sent a series of tweets complaining about the two, who often worked together on the station’s morning show. More comprehensive background checks are “not going to stop all violence,” McAuliffe said Friday. “The point is; are we doing everything we possibly can to keep our communities as safe as possible?” Family and friends will hold a “celebration of life” on Monday, Parker said. To shrug our shoulders and say, as some do, that tackling gun deaths in this country is impractical or impossible and that some criminals will slip through the cracks anyway is not only unacceptable but also not the American way.

At some point her ashes will be taken to waterfalls in the Nantahala River in North Carolina, which was a favorite spot — and where she imagined being wed to her boyfriend, Chris Hurst. “She loved it down there. Bureau of Alcohol, Tobacco, Firearms and Explosives spokesman Thomas Faison said Flanagan legally purchased the gun used in the slaying that also wounded a local economic development official, something that couldn’t have happened if he had prior felony convictions or a history of mental health commitments. The 50 or so workers have been described as a close-knit group, and they have continued reporting on their slain colleagues in the face of the tragedy. “There are too many guns in America and there are clearly too many guns in the wrong hands,” the governor said. Parker’s boyfriend, not yet ready to take a stance on gun laws because he is a journalist, instead remembered the couple’s whitewater kayaking trip just one week ago. “We went past a special place on the river where she turned to me and she said, ‘Chris, this is where I want to get married.

Gun advocates’ reaction to the tragedy in Virginia was predictable: There is no need for gun control; what is needed is more aggressive treatment of the mentally ill. Video obtained by NBC News shows a sparsely decorated apartment and a refrigerator plastered with photos of himself, including old class pictures and modeling shots that he also posted on social media.

To protect the population by identifying and treating every disgruntled employee turned potential violent killer would require such a massive invasion of personal privacy, including monitoring of e-mails, Facebook posts, tweets, telephone calls, etc., that it would dwarf the Patriot Act and make Stalinist Russia look like a bastion of liberty. Investigators believe Flanagan acted alone and shared his plans with no one, and he left no indication of what his plans were after he fled the shooting scene. Moreover, it is hard to imagine that the gun advocates would be any more willing to fund those efforts than they are to fund mental health programs already in existence. Virginia legislators are lining up to offer the usual and useless “prayers and thoughts” after yet another gun rampage, yet they are incapable of passing sensible laws aimed at preventing future carnage. Chris Hurst said Friday that Parker and Vester Flanagan, who used to work at WDBJ-TV, were on an assignment together when Parker remarked that her friend lived on “Cotton Hill Road.” Parker said Flanagan accused her of pointing out the word for racial reasons.

Mark Sichel, a New York-based psychotherapist and author, said Flanagan was a classic “injustice collector,” a person whose fragile ego leads to paranoid behavior, such as overreacting to perceived slights and creating enemy lists, as a protective mechanism. Sichel said Adam Lanza, who killed 27 people, including 20 students at Sandy Hook Elementary School, in Newtown, Connecticut, in 2012, fit the profile.

In one instance, he wrote a rambling letter to a restaurant, complaining that staff told him “have a nice day” instead of “thank you.” In another, a co-worker at a health insurance company’s call center, Michelle Kibodeaux, 46, said he tried to grab her after she made an innocuous remark about him being unusually quiet one day. Adam Henning, news director at WAFF-TV in Huntsville, Alabama, said he declined to hire Flanagan in 2011 after checking with people Henning knew at least one other station where Flanagan had worked. Chris Hurst, a WDBJ-TV anchor who was Parker’s boyfriend, said he and his colleagues wondered in hindsight if there wasn’t more they could have done for Flanagan “to extend him love.” “But he needed, at the time, to be pushed away, because he was not someone who was helping our station and helping our newsroom,” Hurst said. “But I wonder if I had said the right combination of words to him whether that might have tried to light a spark of change.” Reeves reported from Birmingham, Alabama. Associated Press writers Larry O’Dell in Richmond, Virginia; Holbrook Mohr in Jackson, Mississippi; and Allen Breed in Roanoke contributed to this report. Mikey Monaghan and her husband, Patrick, say they had reservations about going to CJ’s Coffee and Sandwich Shop on Friday morning because they wanted to be respectful.

The shopping center is right on the lake, and DiGiorgi noted that Gardner, who was shot in the back and is in good condition at a hospital, works right nearby. He says that after the attack, Vicki Gardner got up and walked to the ambulance after being shot, and she didn’t know the extent of her injuries at that point.

Businesses are reopening in Virginia at the scene of this week’s on-air shooting as more details surface of the gunman’s long history of confronting and bullying co-workers at a succession of television and customer-service jobs. Friday’s reopening of Bridgewater Plaza comes two days after 41-year-old Vester Flanagan killed two journalists from a Roanoke TV station where he once worked, and wounded the Smith Mountain Lake Regional Chamber of Commerce official they were interviewing. Flanagan’s hair-trigger temper became evident at least 15 years ago at WTWC-TV in Tallahassee, Florida, said Don Shafer, who hired him there in 1999.

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